I have decided to illustrate this post with a personal anecdote on communication between hotel departments, about something that happened to me in the middle of an important early booking campaign for Christmas in an urban hotel several years ago.
At that time I was part of the marketing department as e-commerce manager and we had a busy week ahead of us with the launch of the campaign that we had been preparing for the last month. We had everything ready:
- We had met with the revenue department to have the rates and promotions to apply throughout the Hotel.
- I had configured the discount codes in the website’s booking engine and prepared the newsletter in several languages with its corresponding segmentation.
- We had made the typical email to the hotel departments “with a copy to everybody” (or at least to everyone who had an email) informing about the offers, the packages, and what they consisted of.
- The graphic arts had been commissioned and printed to change the restaurant and room signs.
- We had the approval of the department management as well as the hotel management.
On the agreed day, the campaign for this urban hotel was launched on various channels, online and offline, with all the resources allocated, following the established plan, so… we were ready to receive reservations!
So far so good, but do you know where the failure was?
We took it for granted that the entire staff, ALL THE STAFF, were aware of the campaign and the details. From kitchen to guest service, reception, housekeeping, and maintenance to the general management of the hotel.
Well, it wasn’t like that … The next day we received an email with a complaint from a regular customer who, having received the email, called by phone that night to find out about the offer and make a reservation. What was he complaining about?
The person who attended you at reception, although he treated you very kindly, did not have the information at hand, that is, he did not know what the offer consisted of.
What happened to that person from the Front Office?
- It was the night shift, there was no one left in the offices and as there is one single common email for reception, there were so many emails in her inbox that she couldn’t find the offer in time before the annoying customer hung up the phone.
- The person had received no prior information upon joining that afternoon that a campaign was underway.
- As the client told the receptionist that the offer included a dinner for two, he left the client on hold and called the kitchen to see if someone knew something, they also did not have the information since only the person in charge of the department had an email and they had not read what the campaign consisted of
- … And if he had called the rest of the operations hotel departments, it is likely that he would get the same answer.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Have you ever lived it?
Luckily, today we have technology available to any hotel or hotel chain to improve the flow of communication between departments. This is what we do at chartOk, building a direct and effective communication bridge adapted to each accommodation department so that absolutely nothing is lost along the way.
I finish the post with a few notes as a result of that situation:
Let us include all the people who work in the hotel in any action related to the client. You will be responsible for the success or failure of it.
Communication is essential to promote the corporate culture and at the same time motivate our teams, avoiding the flight of talents.
Let’s use technology to transform the way we communicate with internal departments and teams.
Nowadays with teleworking for example, we can no longer think of having a meeting department by department (with all the staff, not just managers) every time a new action is launched. But what we can do, and here comes my reflection of this situation is:
Think out of the box, calculate the cost benefit of including technology in our processes and look for alternatives that allow each of the people in the organization to be part of the day-to-day running of the hotel.
They, your team, are looking forward to it, are you as Director or Department giving them what they ask for?